The phone crackled with my dad’s excitement, “Bill has been called into the bishopric. I’m flying out to California to set him apart as a High Priest. I knew he would do great things when your sister married him. I knew he was a man of God.”

Emotions swarmed my mind—excitement for Bill, worry for my sister with four little ones who was already slaving as Primary President and finally, the embarrassing sting of envy that my several years older, equally fabulous husband serves invisibly as a Course 13 Sunday School Teacher.

Callings and their cultural significance are unique to the Mormon church. In virtually every other religion, men and women choose the ministry, audition as choir director, sign up to teach Sunday School or simply sit and pass the offering plate(they pay pianists and nursery leaders at most Protestant and Catholic churches—can you imagine?).

We’re different. And that’s good.

Because we might be called to teach Sunbeams or Gospel Doctrine at any time, every member must develop knowledge and compassion. Gospel scholarship is not simply the pastor’s private pasture but every member’s fertile acre. Our various and ever-changing callings develop latent talents and Christlike charity. But let’s be honest, certain callings receive only a nod while others seem to contain a validation of our value in the church and God’s estimation of our worth.

Predictably, I live in a super star ward in Salt Lake City. But I suspect calling worship extends far beyond Utah’s linear borders. In recent years the brethren have preached that every calling is important, every member is needed. But it’s difficult to crack deep cultural beliefs of perceived merit. Have you ever been to a sacrament meeting devoted to the exiting and incoming library staff?

Now, I know, I know, that we can learn and serve in a thousand other ways.  And I’ve certainly enjoyed the luxury of raising our six children without challenging church callings to monopolize family time(my hubby has never complained a bit). But when every member leaving a “big” calling stands and bears witness that they’ve learned and grown exponentially through their recent service, I wonder if my family and others around us will be able to make great spiritual progress without the intense learning curve of a ward or stake assignment?

My words may sound petty and shallow but I pray they are read with understanding hearts. To give my father credit, he compliments my family at every opportunity. Our value to him is not measured by callings or accomplishments. And I must remember that my Father in Heaven is the same— God loves me as the imperfect, fumbling-but-really-trying child I am.

I actually have a really fantastic calling at the moment(Gospel Doctrine) so I know my angst won’t be cured by a call from the Stake President.  I have to reach deeper.  Stripping away my pride and opinions, I need to have faith that God has a better plan for our lives than I do. I need to believe that God loves each soul and will provide His own divine tutelage to bring us back to his throne.

Now that I’m nearly finished writing, I think I’m over it. I certainly don’t want a more challenging calling and I love having my husband at home. But the next time my husband’s uncle asks him pointedly, “So– what are you doing in the ward these days?” or a old missionary companion exclaims, “What happened to you? We all thought you’d be SOMEBODY by now?” the frustrations will flood back in.

Only humility and faith will shield me from those arrows. Meanwhile, as I’m developing this superhuman abilities, how can we help each other? How can we make every member feel valued? How can I bloom where I am planted and “lift where I stand”?

January 12, 2009


  1. Ginger

    January 13, 2009

    In my mind, Gospel Doctrine teacher is a pretty big deal. There is a lot riding on that calling in helping people to understand the scriptures better.

    I used to want a big calling too. Then I was called to be the primary president. I had never served in primary, nor had I ever served in any type of presidency. It was definitely a learning and growing experience, but it was also one of the most trying and stressful times in my life. Our primary grew from 35 active children to 90 active children within a year and a half. We had no where to put all these kids as we have a smaller mid-west building, and we did not have enough teachers. My counselors had many issues in their lives and I had a baby in the middle of all of it too. Did I mention I get really sick while pregnant and then tend to have a bit of PPD afterwards. By the time my baby was 5 months old I had been praying desperately for God to release me for about 2 weeks. Finally, I went to a general stake leadership meeting and felt really good about life. I told my counselor that came to the meeting with me that we needed to get ourselves reorganized and get running smoothly. We were both excited to get back into the calling, and then the next day the Bishop called me into his office to release me. I was sad for a couple of hours, and then relieved.
    I’m not sure why I felt the need to write out my whole story, except that I think we should be careful what we wish for. Every calling is a great calling. I am so grateful for my children’s primary teachers. I hope they know how important their preparation is to me, and to my kids. The whole of our church would fall apart if there weren’t all these individual pieces. We need to make sure we magnify whatever calling we have, and be grateful we aren’t in a calling that demands more of us.
    I don’t think your words sound petty or shallow, and I bet many of us have felt them (I did). But I am now grateful when my husband and I have small callings and can enjoy our family time.

  2. Justine

    January 13, 2009

    We live in what some in our stake proudly call a “breadbasket stake”. I don’t even know what that means, but I do know the attitude that comes with it. There are about a million old Mission Presidents and old Temple Presidents and old Stake Presidents and on and on and on. There is sometimes a tendency to worry that we’re not “measuring up” somehow. I had a friend tell me, after I met her father, that she was “always so disappointed that her father never made General Authority. He was just such a good man after all!”

    I suppose we often equate our own personal righteousness with the more prominent level of trust the Lord places in us. Yet we often discount the quiet levels of trust the Lord places in us. Maybe we’ve just all gotten the world’s ideas of importance too stuck in our heads.

    But whenever I get those prominent callings, my big head and pride want to creep out. I’m just so weak that way. I’ve got to constantly remind myself that in a year or two, I’ll be serving in the nursury or in cub scouts and will still be just as important to the Lord. Because that’s just how it works in the church, isn’t it?

  3. E

    January 13, 2009

    I think one irony in this is, those who are in the more visible “prominent” callings are the ones who are then in a position to REALLY see just how important the less visible callings are. If you’re the Primary President, you are incredibly grateful for nursery leaders who serve faithfully, if you’re the Bishop or RS president, you wish the home teachers and visiting teachers all understood how important it is to serve faithfully.

  4. Maryanne

    January 13, 2009

    This post has stirred up so many thoughts- thank you for giving me so much to ponder this morning. When my husband and I met, we were in a student ward in CA where people “kiddingly” referred to callings like RS Pres. and Elders Quorum Pres. as “big dog” callings. I say kiddingly because there definitely was an undercurrent of appraisal of worthiness– you had passed a test if you got one of those callings. I’m sure that many feelings were hurt, however quietly.

    My wonderful dad had his feelings hurt a number of times when he was “passed over” for the calling as Bishop, even though he served in the Bishopric most of his church life. But as soon as all of us kids were out of the house, the call came. And I think that encapsulates the dilemma you’re talking about. He didn’t WANT to be bishop while we were kids, he wanted to be home with us. But the fact that he wasn’t led him to concern about his worthiness in the eyes of the Stake President and the Lord. I think we all want those assurances. Luckily the Lord knew better, and let him stay home with us, and then blessed him with the opportunity that he wanted.

    We are so blessed to live in a ward now (still in CA) where the members consider their callings a ministry. Our librarian is the most dedicated librarian I have ever seen. He takes his calling so seriously, and I know he is being blessed with growth for his service. Our Sunday School president is so committed, prayerfully considering those under his stewardship. And it goes on and on. It really is inspiring to see. So much of what we gain from serving has nothing to do with the learning curve or the time commitment, or even the actual work that we’re doing, but rather the grace of the Father expanding our abilities as we humbly approach Him in whatever ministry He has asked us to perform.

    How do we make every member feel valued? Truly appreciate their service and the calling they do. Thank them for the offering they weekly (or daily, or monthly) place on the altar, acknowledging that the Lord is no respecter of callings.

    And just a little side note- my husband teaches the 12-13 year old Sunday School too. The bishop has basically said he will never be released, because he’s the only one they’ve had who connects with the kids. He is laying the foundation for their future Sunday school years, and he has grown and progressed in leaps and bounds since being called. Your husband may be serving invisibly to the rest of the ward, but he’s not invisible to those kids, their parents, or the Lord.

    And- I’m really jealous of your calling. It’s my favorite!

  5. Annette

    January 13, 2009

    I’ve never seen “big” callings as a big deal, and it might be because my parents were always in them, so I saw firsthand the stress and sacrificees everyone in the family has to make. When I had friends jealous of one of their callings in particular, wishing their parents could get it, I wanted to smack them. I wanted to yell that the calling wasn’t like winning the lottery, for Pete’s sake. It was HARD.

    My husband, on the other hand, does see bigger callings as a worthiness or status thing. Which is ironic, because of the two of us, I’ve served in way more of them than he has–but I don’t WANT to.

    So maybe we’re both being tested–he sees them as validating and must learn humility and as a result doesn’t get the “big” callings, while I’d like a break and don’t get one until I at long last learn to serve and sacrifice cheerfully without murmuring. Maybe?

    It’s a complicated topic for sure.

  6. jendoop

    January 13, 2009

    I understand. It seems your desire is a righteous one, you would like your husband to have the experiences of a leadership calling. I think if it is a righteous desire of your husband also it will happen eventually like the previous commenter said happened to her dad.

    Of course the part of us that wants the big calling just to be seen is harder to deal with. We all want recognition for how hard we work, the care we put in, and the time on our knees to be in tune with the Lord, no matter the calling. Hopefully this feeling will make us more likely to thank those that serve in the small callings. When my husband was a counselor it bugged me when people would get up and thank the bishop for something my husband did. In the end it all needs to be for God.

    My former bishop’s wife admitted to a conversation between she and her husband- they both agreed that they would rather be president of an organization than a counselor, which is much more difficult. There is a level of praise, fellowship and adjulation brought on by leadership callings, along with all the care and work. Those who serve find out when they are released that all the glory goes to God when they feel the absence of all the benefits. Being released as YWs president was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. It was crushing.

    PS- if you want leadership opportunity serve in an inner-city branch, opportunities abound.

  7. wendy

    January 13, 2009

    I haven’t read all of the comments above, but I really like what E said.

    This was great, btw, Michelle. Good food for thought. Regarding your question about spiritual progress, I am a firm believer that Heavenly Father will not let us get out of this life without all of the learning experiences that we need, even if we never get a so-called “big” calling. He knows what we need. Besides the fact that there are things to learn with every calling, there are also countless opportunities for service as visiting and home teachers, as ward members, friends, etc., and plenty of life experiences to teach us.

  8. Em

    January 13, 2009

    I agree with Wendy – this has been great food for thought.

    I’m one to have the tendency to lack the desire for ANY of the “big” callings due to the stress and time involved. I know myself and feel like I’m not one to handle too many things at once. It exhausts me to think of being a RS president or Primary President. I don’t see this as a good thing, in fact I think I’m on the other end of the spectrum by desiring a “doable” (in my eyes) calling rather than a big, time-consuming one. I just have to remind myself that RS President is just as important as ward chorister or primary teacher 🙂

    I did learn on my mission that we’re all on the same team and like someone said before – we are all part of the organism of the ward and as we work together we make it what it is.

  9. Andrea

    January 13, 2009

    I used to aspire to see my dad and then my husband in those types of callings…and maybe even a little pridefully hope that I might be called to a “big dog” calling myself one day. Then I started working closely with the RS president as VT coordinator, and I began to see first hand how much time goes into those callings. Time away from your kids, time away from your spouse, time AWAY, period, serving other people. How many wives have to cope with their kids ALONE every Sunday because their husband has a “big dog” calling? I know this sounds selfish, but I’d rather have my husband home, thanks. I’d rather that he didn’t have to carry the burden of the needs and problems of every member of the ward. I’d rather not carry those burdens myself.

    And, for what it’s worth, I think the most important calling in the church is the Nursery leader. I want to give them a tip every time I pick up my kids on Sunday for their service in letting me have a few quiet moments of contemplation every Sunday. God bless them, every one!

  10. Kim

    January 13, 2009

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. I feel like I need this reminder because my wishes go around in circles all the time and really, I just need to know that whatever I and my husband are doing is important and that it is actually good that we have callings (like I said, my thoughts change–some weeks I wish that I could be in a leadership role, others I really wish that we DID have a paid ministry!)

    When you mentioned that you worry about the lord not giving us those growing opportunities, I had a couple thoughts. First of all, maybe the growth is coming from learning to accept what the Lord has in store for us and not constantly wanting what we don’t have (whether that means wanting into the “big dog” callings, or out of them!) And I certainly think the Lord knows each of us and so he knows what growth we need and when. When I was in YW, I was never called to be a president of the class, which I remember being a little upset about as I watched my friends who didn’t really strike me as leaders get that calling. And my mom sat with me and explained that the Lord wants us to learn and the fact that I wasn’t called into that position didn’t mean I couldn’t do a good job, but maybe I already knew a lot of what I would have learned from that. And maybe I needed to learn to work more as a team player by being a counselor, or a member of the class. I try to remember that lesson when I don’t get the calling I think I’d be good at, or when someone gets a calling that I don’t think they have the talents for, or even when I get a calling I don’t think I’m cut out for.

    I’ve also enjoyed reading the comments about people who have kind of wished for those calllings only to get them later, in a time that is much better all around for their family. I personally have no desire for my husband to be a bishop–he’s ward mission leader right now which I consider bad enough. But there is a part of me that feels like I am holding him back from his full potential by having the attitude that I do towards his time away from the home. And then I feel guilty. But this has reminded me that first of all, not being in the bishopbric or a quorum president doesn’t mean you aren’t living up to your fullest potential. And maybe it isn’t that bad for me to want my children to know their father in a way I never did because my dad WAS in the bishopbric and stake presidency in one calling or another almost my entire childhood and just didn’t spend much time with us. Maybe the Lord isn’t frowning on my desires but blessing me to be able to give my family what I always wanted. (or maybe I’m now just coming up with excuses to make myself feel better about my somewhat selfish attitude about my family’s time.)

  11. Justine

    January 13, 2009

    Andrea, I’m with you. That nursery leader is the most important person in my son’s Sunday life, and I think she deserves accolades for caring for my tiny kid’s tender and sweet growing feelings about church and the gospel.

  12. Michelle L.

    January 13, 2009

    How much do I love the Segullah readers and commenters?

    A LOT.

    I knew I was plastering a big ole’ target on my head with this post and yet, your response has been so understanding and kind. Thank you. But, I’m still tempted to simply delete this post and put up the bland essay I prepared as a backup. 😉

    Even if I do end up looking like a fool at the end of the day, I think this topic is worth discussing. At the very least maybe we’ll all remember to thank our librarian and those blessed nursery leaders this Sunday.

  13. Paula

    January 13, 2009

    Sometimes “big” callings go to outgoing people. Sometimes they go to those who say “yes”. (Difficult to find “yessers” in some wards.) Those who lead are called through inspiration.

    But sometimes a big calling is what keeps a person going. I don’t know him, but maybe your BIL needed a spiritual kick in the pants! My husband and I seem to always get the “big” callings a.k.a. spiritual pants kickings. Not fun. So I hope my perspective helps you. Yes, we might be outgoing and willing to serve. But that doesn’t mean we’re more spiritual. On the contrary! I’d venture a guess that you two, teaching course 13 and gospel doctrine are doing well spiritually–quite probably better than this former RSP and her bishop’s counselor hubby. The grass is NOT greener on the leadership side.

    Oh, and one more random thought, be sure to talk to the SS presidency or your bishop if you need a break from your callings. People in leadership positions don’t automatically know when someone needs to be released. Those who lead in your ward need all the help they can get (I’m guessing!).

  14. rahel

    January 13, 2009

    dear michelle, i don’t write this with any intention to offend you but i must express that i was a little bit shocked by your post, by your fathers reaction and some of the comments.

    it never crossed my mind that
    1. one could want to have a certain calling because it is “big”.
    2. that a calling could serve as a measurement of ones spirituality.

    my grandfather, who was/is everything from bishop, general authority and patriarch, once expressed that it would be his dream calling to be a sunday school teacher. he finally got to be that for some years.
    i also remember how my aunt wouldn’t tell her real name because she was so annoyed by people’s reaction of her being the daughter of the general authority so and so.
    i remember how i cried as a kid for a week when i was told my father is going to be bishop.

    and why would there be the notion that people with “big” callings are – in some sense or the other – more worthy? i met my share of leaders of whose imperfections and flaws i knew more than i wanted. i am not saying that people in big leading positions are more flawed than everybody else but by my experience i can’t see a difference in worthiness.

    i met my husband in a single ward where he was the sunday school teacher. i remember how i instantly fell in love with him because he was that good of a teacher. and i pray he will always stay out of the big callings.

    i guess you bloom where you are planted by being (or getting yourself) excited of whatever you are doing. i for myself find the highest satisfaction when i know i really put an effort into my calling (whatever it is). my favorite calling for which i also was called for is singing teacher in the primary. i did this for 10 years and today i miss it very much. it is still the best.

    i think that church is the wrong place to be ambitious and competitive. should i ever develope such feelings i hope i will simply ignore them and not give them any space.

  15. Mom in the Mountains

    January 13, 2009

    This is an interesting topic. I grew up wondering if I would be marrying the “bishop” type, hoping that I would, knowing that a man like that would be a spiritual giant. I always thought it would be cool for my dad to be the bishop, or even just in the bishopric, and I have always felt a sense of dissapointment from my mother that he was never called to any of those “big dog” positions.

    Then I got married and realized just how selfish I am with my husband’s “free” time. I hate to share it. He works late often, and then is gone with his callings on Sundays quite often (he’s an assistant stake clerk and the ward employment specialist.) I get really frustrated with him working late, as I get no time with him, and my children get no time with him. Sundays sometimes just make it worse. I feel bad, because I often resent him being gone as much as he is for his church callings, especially on Sundays, when I have to wrestle with a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old by myself. I know I should be more supportive, and I’m working on it, but it isn’t easy to have him gone.

    Then we had a family tragedy, and a friend came over (recently called to the stake presidency, and was in the bishopric previous to that calling for at least 4 1/2 years) and gave my husband a blessing. In the blessing, one of the “promises” (or should I say warning? haha) was of many many leadership positions in the future. Afterwards, this friend told me to enjoy the time with my husband while I can, because I will have many lonely years ahead of me. Needless to say, I don’t wish for the “bishop” calling for him anymore. I have watched this friend’s wife sit in the front row with her 4 kids, alone, for years. I do not want that.

    Perhaps that’s why I was given a heads up? I don’t know. But I certainly don’t covet those positions for my husband anymore, that’s for sure.

  16. mormonhermitmom

    January 13, 2009

    I like the comment that callings are given to us so we can learn. My mom told me the same thing when I griped about a bishop when I was a teenager. She said he needed to learn how to look after people and I needed to learn to give him a break.

  17. martha

    January 13, 2009

    From what I know of you Michelle(which is very superficial, but at times feels more deep because of your evocative writings and stories on your blog), you seem to naturally grow and serve so beautifully and love so purely that I wouldn’t worry about not having the opportunity of growth from ‘big’ callings.

    For many it does seem to somehow be God’s stamp of approval though. All I know is that I am fairly pathetic on a regular basis and there have to be at least 100 more worthy women in my ward than me. I try not do speculate for others, I only try through prayer and service to understand why I am called where I am called(key word being ‘try’).

    In the end, I hope we are where we are because the Lord knows what we need, and He knows how we can best meet others needs.

  18. La Yen

    January 13, 2009

    This is a topic I have been thinking of, lately, just because I tend to need that outward validation–in my mind it would be an affirmation that I AM worthy and would do a good job at something besides something “small.” Which I know is ridiculous, and not the way it works, but is still a nagging little voice in the back of my head.

    But when it comes down to it, do I want to go visit three hundred sisters in the ward as their RS president? Absolutely not. Do I want to deal with the YW drama each week? Double-Absolutely not.

    But would I love a public “You are capable and of use!”? Sadly, yes.

  19. Lizabeth

    January 13, 2009

    My husband served as EQ President when our current Bishop was a counselor in the bishopric. At the time, we had 2 small kids and my husband worked 70 hours a week and was attempting to go to school (he quit for awhile). I should mention too that I was working full time as well. Needless to say, my husband wasn’t the best EQ Pres he could be with no time or energy left after providing for our family. He was released from that and then made Scoutmaster, which was almost impossible to do with his schedule as well. Ever since that time I feel like he has been judged by our Bishop because of those experiences. On the upside his callings have been relatively light since then, but he now has the time and energy to serve in a larger capacity and hasn’t been given the opportunity because our Bishop has a certain opinion of him now. He’s never said as much, but I know that it bothers him. I have had several time consuming callings that are not considered “big” but are. (Enrichment Leader, Faith in God Leader, etc.) I wonder how much of our Bishop’s personal feelings interfere with the callings he gives. I’ve noticed this with other families in our Ward as well. Did I mention that our Bishop has no children and has been our Bishop for over 8 years? As much as I appreciate his service, I wish a change would come – there are many people in our Ward that have been overlooked because of his personal opinions. PS I know that his opinions interfere, because his wife (a very good friend) has confided in me as much.

  20. Calluna

    January 13, 2009

    I can relate. Most of us know that those visible callings are less than desirable because of the work and hours they require, but there has been a part of me that wants to know that the Lord thinks me capable and worthy of such jobs, and even (in my pride) wanting others to know that the Lord thinks me capable and worthy.

    For me, what it comes down to is having a personal relationship with the Lord, and knowing by the Spirit, rather than by some arbitrary title, what the Lord thinks about me, thereby letting go of what others may think of me.

    And I second what others have said; the people in my ward that most influence my family are the dedicated nursery leader, the caring visiting teacher, even the activities committee chairperson.

  21. Michelle L.

    January 13, 2009

    Again, I so appreciate your thoughtful responses. I should make it clear that this has never been an issue for my husband and he laughs off the cruel comments(trust me, I omitted the most offensive jabs in an effort to keep this positive). But I have I little more trouble shaking those things off because, well, because I’m proud.

    Rahel– I’m certainly not offended. I knew I had put myself in a vulnerable position and expected responses like yours. But calling worship is a real issue in our church and deserves discussion if we want to execute change. And we can make those changes by expressing sincere appreciation for everyone around us and by monitoring our actions and attitudes.

    I have five sons and my aspirations for them are to become good missionaries, husbands, fathers and home teachers.

    Oh, and if you haven’t listened to the song in the title go treat yourself. I love getting inspiration from Jewish movies.

  22. robin

    January 13, 2009

    Our Bishopric was just reorganized and our stake president said something that stuck with me. He said, of all the titles we hold in life (Vice President, Attorney, etc.) Ordinary Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is probably the most important one.

  23. Le Ginge

    January 13, 2009

    Thanks for that last comment Robin, that’s pretty cool.

    It must be tough being in such big wards in terms callings. We (I live in the UK) have the opposite problem I guess. I’ve only been in the chuch for 6 and a half years and I have been on the Young womens presidency as secretary, then coucillor and then president, then I was a nursery leader and now I’m the Seminary teacher (which is not a job here, it’s simply a calling.) To be honest I guess I am the flip side of you, you want to have more oppertunities to serve and work and I would love a break!

    You can always do stuff that is not technically a calling, I teach the odd Relief Society lesson as well as do their notice board and quarterly newsletter but I have never had a calling within the organisation.

  24. Brett

    January 13, 2009

    Hey Michelle,

    Thanks for writing this. I understand your feelings. I don’t think that ambition is the right word to describe your desires in this regard. It’s not ambition. It’s not jealousy of others. If I understand you correctly, what you have is a desire to serve and to fully use your gifts and talents that the Lord has blessed you with. You and Erik have plenty offer and the truth is that you are willing and desirous to serve in those capacities that you know you are able to perform and to receive the blessings that result. That’s not a bad thing. So did Abraham. Read Abraham 1: 2.

    Remember that Abraham did not receive all the blessings he desired until he was a very old man. Much older than we are.

    The real challenge we all face is to submit our will to the Father’s. Remember the Lord’s timing is not ours. D&C 88: 68. That’s the hard part, but yet it’s the best part.

    Good luck!

  25. jendoop

    January 13, 2009

    I’ve been through what you are feeling. When we moved into a new ward I was called as YW advisor and told I didn’t need to attend activities. This was strange to me, I wanted to really “do” my calling but they were telling me not to. One night I went in to speak to the bishop about a YW I had concerns about and he admitted to assuming I made the appt because people had told him my marriage was in trouble. Complete surprise to me! I had been passed over for callings and other opportunities because they thought my marriage was hanging by a thread. This had alot of implications not applicable to our conversation, but it broke my heart that because of the “wisdom of man” I missed out on some great stuff. It does happen- the people in the church aren’t perfect. Just remember every bishop has a release and the Lord will make sure you get the opportunities you may have missed.

  26. Miggy

    January 13, 2009

    Good post. Couldn’t agree more…there is something about these high level callings that people seem to aspire to, while simultaneously trying not to aspire to. I must admit that when I was younger I sorta felt like I would be a good RSP and deep down thinking it would sorta be this “glamorous” calling… funny thing is when I finally got over that and realized I wouldn’t actually want that calling, I got called as one in my singles ward. Of course it was a good experience, but I can truly say I would never want to do it again. I also remember being really annoyed when this guy asked me out (sorta blind date) and one of the few things he knew about me was that I was the RSP…he asked about it the first time we talked on the phone and I was like “well I’m the same girl I was before that calling, and I would be the same girl if I had been asked to pass out the hymns…”

  27. alanna

    January 13, 2009

    I love this discussion. It is sooo very relevant.

    I haven’t been able to figure out the contradicting feelings I have about “big” callings. I certainly don’t want all the work that goes along with them (I have small children right now and would probably fail miserably), but whenever the callings are announced I feel a little twinge of…”wonder why it wasn’t me?”

    One thing is certain, I have heaps of respect for people in my previous callings. My most challenging calling was as a RS instructor. I labored arduously to teach one lesson to so many women at different stages of their spiritual progression. Now I have a great deal of respect for RS instructors. Even if the lesson isn’t great…I feel a kinship with the instructor and know what she’s gone through to present the lesson.
    I feel that way about every calling I’ve been in. I just want to kiss (and tip) the nursery leaders! I try to remember to bring them handouts or treats from other classes.

    I’m excited for all of my future callings because of the gratitude it instills in me. Hopefully I’ll be able to feel that same amount of gratitude for everyone without having served in their calling!

  28. Jennie

    January 13, 2009

    I’m not the “big calling” type (rather lacking in the compassion department), but I know my husband does worry about it. Lately he’s been bummed because he’s 43 and still an Elder. I know the E.Q. has better parties and is funner in general, but he definitely feels like he somehow doesn’t measure up when he’s passed over for the “big callings”. Especially when all the men in his family have been bishops and Stake Presidents multiple times.

    I think that some men are administrators and many times they are called to be in charge. But there are people like my husband who have superb people skills and don’t mind working behind the scenes. So the Lord has these people work where they will be the most effective. That’s what I tell my husband, but he just rolls his eyes.

  29. m&m

    January 14, 2009

    I love the honesty here.

    My view is very similar to this one:

    For me, what it comes down to is having a personal relationship with the Lord, and knowing by the Spirit, rather than by some arbitrary title, what the Lord thinks about me, thereby letting go of what others may think of me.

    But I really think that for many of us, this is a lot easier said than done. I think there are many possible reasons for this. I think upbringing, personality, and life experiences could influence how/where we get our sense of worth. I think our culture of competitiveness, climbing ladders, and corporate dominance can make it very hard to really believe that position does not equal value, or power, or worth, or potential, or feedback, or whatever else it often means in ‘the world.’

    I think it can just be another example of a way our faith is stretched. “Do you love me Lord? REALLY? Even if ‘all’ I ever do is visit teach and hand out programs every Sunday?”

    I love the scripture in 1 Cor 12 that talks of the body of Christ. I was going to quote a few verses, but it’s one of those chapters that just needs to be read all together. But here’s a little glimpse that I think is really applicable here:

    “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour….”

    Hm, huh?

  30. m&m

    January 14, 2009

    p.s. When I talked of potential in my comment, I meant corporate-like potential. In eternity-speak, that actually *should* be something that we hold onto when we want to sense our worth.

    p.s. Thread-jack warning: To me, this concept of needing differences in our roles to bring us together as ‘one body’ principle could apply with gender roles, too…both in the way roles are divided up in the Church, and also with marriage…. And the way it is supposed to somehow balance out with the roles at church and in our families…there’s a big picture here, imo, that is fascinating to think about. It’s soooo easy in our mortal weakness to look at any element in isolation, instead of seeing it ALL working together for a bigger purpose. Kinda makes my head hurt because it’s bigger than what my brain can fully grasp. God’s ways are not our ways….

  31. m&m

    January 14, 2009

    One other thought, as if I haven’t said enough.

    I think for those who don’t ever struggle with this, that is a gift. Because believe it or not, at least in my experience, this isn’t always a conscious choice. It’s more like a reaction, something built into my body. And my sense is that we all have these kinds of things, these natural reactions, and although they may not all be the same, I think when we are honest with ourselves, we can see that having a weakness, insecurity, or reaction isn’t so abnormal.

    Discussions like this that are both honest and positive, recognizing the ideal but also how sometimes we struggle to get there, can be really healthy, imo. We all have our weakness, and that is part of the plan! When I try to remember that, it helps me be more compassionate and patient with other people’s stuff. 🙂

    This is just a general principle on my brain these days. Just another threadjack, probably….

  32. jamesrivergirl

    January 14, 2009

    First, I’ve fantasized about “hey, look at me!” callings. Pride. (Plus, when I really stop to think about it, I do not want to be responsible for that many people or a target for criticism for that many people.)

    But, I think the purposes behind callings often reflect the idea of “ministering to the one” – in that they put you in a position to minister to one specific person. I think this is true of prominent and not-so-prominent callings. It helps me to remember that “the one” is infinitely valuable: that receiving and acting on inspiration to help one is just as valuable as receiving and acting on inspiration to help many. And maybe not-so-prominent callings provide avenues for us to do that in priceless ways.

    So, I agree with you that expressing more gratitude is in order…accompanied by trumpets. 😉

    P.S. I love your posts!

  33. Zina

    January 14, 2009

    I guess I’ll take m&m’s word for it that this is a gift of mine, but honestly I’ve never, ever aspired to “big” callings for myself or my husband. There have definitely been times I’ve coveted a calling because it sounded fun or easy to me (including teaching callings because I (probably) like the attention, and definitely like talking,) but only my sincere desire to fulfill my covenants to help build the Kingdom keeps me open to the idea of accepting leadership-ish callings. I *am* open, very open; but without that faith I’d rather just stay on the beach rather than continue the hard journey to the Promised Land.

    I actually think it quite likely my husband will have plenty of leadership callings, and I certainly was attracted to the things about him that made him *worthy* for such — but as far as his actually holding leadership callings, my attitude has been to try to brace myself/humble myself in advance so as to be willing to share his time. And I will find myself thinking of things like his having put my favorite maternity shirt in the dryer and shrinking it, and think “You can’t be a General Authority and do things like that,” (but of course you can) or I will often say to him things like, “If you are ever a bishop, please don’t do X.” Whether or not my husband ever does end up in the more “big” leadership callings, I hope we’ll serve missions together after our kids are grown, so I anticipate a long life of church service anyway — but again, it’s only my belief that the Lord needs the best efforts of every one of us that keeps me from planning instead to stay home, sew, play with my grandkids, and keep my husband busy with home and yard improvement projects (which would be my preferred later-life plan without my commitment to the Church.)

    I actually remember a visiting teaching conference where they had a reader’s theater with a script about someone who was “Only a Visiting Teacher” and feels bad about it but then learns the importance of her calling, and I remember thinking it was a pretty dumb script and also wondering “Is there really anyone who’d be disappointed to only be a visiting teacher? Because I’d LOVE that!” So I guess this thread has answered the question for me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what you all have expressed, especially since those who do aspire to more “big” callings clearly understand what any of our true motivation ought to be. It’s just that having to manage my ambition vs. humility over callings is, honestly, a problem that hasn’t come up much for me. It’s not that I’m not ambitious or competitive in my own ways, either — just, so far, not over church callings.

    (I was about to hit “submit” but I guess I’ll add that I do think that callings affect my husband’s sense of self-worth, even if very subconsciously. And I’d rather they didn’t, but then again maybe it doesn’t matter since he’s usually had a fair amount of responsibility. Also, I’m sure my callings affect my sense of self-worth, too, even if I don’t aspire to them. It’s true for all of us that it feels good to feel needed.)

  34. jendoop

    January 14, 2009

    In my previous comment I mentioned missing out on great things. By “great things” I did not mean leadership callings. I meant teaching callings, I love to teach and delve into the scriptures and have great gospel discussions.

    Living in Salt Lake during my adolescence I had many friends with fathers serving as bishops and stake presidents and grandfathers as GAs. My Dad was inactive and smoked. In my heart I yearned to know what it felt like to have a righteous father that could guide me lovingly through the pitfalls of life.

    Now as an adult I have a righteous husband, it is a whole new world. While there have been times I’ve wanted my husband to have leadership callings, he has never wanted one. His family life growing up was opposite of mine and he holds resentments towards the church for the massive amounts of time his father spent serving outside the family.

    When my husband was called as a counselor in the bishopric I confided to the bishop’s wife that it was difficult for me; I didn’t know how to be OK with his absences or preoccupied mind. Her snide response to me was that her dad and husband have always served in leadership positions so it was all normal to her. It was like a slap across the face as she reminded me of the general authorities on both sides of their prestegious family. She had no kind, supportive words- just suck it up and do your duty. It made me realize that I do not want to be a permanent member of that “club”. He’s since been released and it has been so nice to have him home and our load lightened.

  35. Kim

    January 14, 2009

    Jendoop, that is sad that you got that response from the Bishops wife. Maybe her comment actually stems from her own issues with the calling as well, but ones she isn’t willing to admit to or face because it is supposed to be okay. I’m in the boat with your husband–try not to resent the church and be willing to serve and more importantly, let my husband serve, but my relationship with my father left a LOT to be desired and I know that his being gone so much had a lot to do with it.

    I will also say that I have a harder time with my husband having time consuming callings than myself, not that I want it either. But I feel like he’s already gone all day with his job (which is necessary and totally normal), I’d like him to be able to be with our children at night for those few hours that they are awake. And after being home with the kids all day, I’m the one who could use the break from the house. And on those same lines, he already has a life outside of our home where he can get recognition and friendship and adult conversation, so I don’t feel like he NEEDS the callings so much. But throughout our marriage, starting from our first callings where he was asked to be a ward missionary (a calling I’d always wanted to try) and I was asked to set up the chairs for RS each week) his callings have usually been more involved/more high profile than mine–I try to remind myself that in some of our wards, there have been a LOT more women than men, so the odds are in his favor, but I do sometimes wonder when its going to be my turn (and at the same time, pray fervently that our turns never come at the same time because even though I wish he was the one home with the kids every night and getting them ready for church each Sunday, I would rather be the one with the time to do it all than have to juggle two little ones with all the meetings and duties).
    I guess its just an ongoing process to learn and grow and find satisfaction from our roles while we are in them.

  36. Leslie

    January 14, 2009

    It’s funny the view from the other side- I live in a very sparsely LDS populated area. (our ward boundaries are an hour across. Calling needs abound. Priesthood is always lacking. Opportunity is often simply provided by numbers and geography. It is such a mixed bag- while we have many opportunties for church service are great it sometimes to the point of exhaustion and we lack the ability to “run the programs” the way you can in other places. I think the growth we need comes from our callings-all teach different things: the love of the individual, an appreciation of order, the realization that there are no small callings, the power of good adminstration, the sacredness of family time. There are times I have to pray that blessings will come for the family sacrifice larger callings can enatil. Waking up at 5 sometime to teach seminary challenges me daily. Just a few months ago my kids started talking about Dad’s church (because he was on assignment in another ward and never in our ward) – it freaked me out- wait he’s the same religion I assured it’s just his assignment. Couple that with some shifts at the temple and a handful of nights home teaching people all in different towns and you feel like sometimes your whole life is church service or driving to and from it…and you still feel like you are failing and not getting done the way they should. You can feel bad that your YW new beginning isn’t elaborate “utah Style” all themed out to the max perfect detail- instead it gets set up the hour before by you and your counselors with 4 kids running around and babies strapped to your chest trying to get something to cover the tables and somehow balalnce love and support of the girls with the needs of young children. You try desperately not to complain about the couple hour long drives to meetings. We here can occasionally be heard to murmur for want of more members, or members committed enough to do hard tasks, or what would it be like to actually have enough primary teachers or a full compliment of YW advisors. I would never judge someone on the size and shape of their calling. I know what a flawed person I am and yet sometime the Lord uses me in a variety of callings. I also know from selecting counselors at various times- Who the right people are often has little do with them being my favorites, or known list of abilities but out of a feeling that its right. I try to be happy with callings and happy with releases- Can I add a shameless plug we’re always recruiting back east???

  37. cms

    January 14, 2009

    Anyone wanting to test their mettle in one of these big dog callings for themselves or spouses, please move into my ward. Please. Please. Please. My desperation isn’t quiet. It is just there. Our ward is barely functioning and every week we baptize new members that need a lot of fellowshipping. My husband (a convert) is in the bishopric and I’m pretty sure he feels like quitting the church once a month. Heck I feel like quitting.:)

    We’re in a fairly functional stake and there are a few wards overflowing with priesthood. I can’t help but hope for some change in policy that will allow people from other wards to be called to serve in our geographic area.

    Once I lived in a ward where a calling was “hymnal coordinator” The job? Making sure the hymals were straightened out after sacrament. Yup. those were good times.

    (but our testimony meetings are extraordinary)

  38. shelah

    January 14, 2009

    There was a lady in my current ward who stood up in sacrament meeting last year after she was called to be the Young Women’s president. She talked on and on about how she had now gone “three for three” in serving as YW, Primary and RS president. She then talked about all of the leadership callings her husband and her mother and her father had all served in. I was really, really irritated, because it felt to me that she was equating serving in leadership callings with worth in the church, and for someone like me, who always seems to be corralling cub scouts or teaching lessons instead of sitting at the front of the room, I took it as a slap in the face. But I realized that it was my problem, not hers (ok, maybe she has a problem too, but I could only work on mine, lol). Anyway, maybe my lot in life as a classic overachiever is to learn not to be the leader. But I’ll admit that it’s hard for me. Hard enough that I posed about it over at fMh last year:

  39. ddrplant

    January 14, 2009

    This is a tough issue for me too.

    The church encourages, probably unintentionally, this kind of feeling toward particular callings by citing “a church resume” when introducing someone in the Ensign or before they give a talk, lesson or other presentation. It wouldn’t bother me if it was a sampling of all their callings, but they seem to focus on the “big ticket” items. Not always, but often… For example:

    It is also hard when you are interviewed as a candidate for a church position that you may or may not hold, such as serving in a bishopric not in your own ward. These interviews often feel an awful lot like job interviews and it hard NOT to feel there is something wrong with you when you don’t get the calling… Of course, it just isn’t the right timing, etc, but the rejection is real.

  40. Kay

    January 15, 2009

    I have ben following this with interest over the last few days and trying to work out where I stand. Both my husband and I have served in presidencies most of our lives. I first became a primary president at 24. I am now on thr R.S. presidency and he is on the Bishopric. we have never sought after these callings, they just have happened over a period of time and in different wards. Sometimes it has been really hard, particularly when I was pregnant or had a young baby to both be doing this. I really feel that most people don’t want the ‘calling’ as such but the feeling of validation that seems to comes with it. After all do you really want your husband gone so much? Do you really want to do sacrament alone with the children? Do you realy want to go to church and hear people complain about the Bishopric when the have no real idea how hard they work? The answer to all of these is probably no but we all really want our husbands (and ourselves) to feel appreciated and of worth, we want the world to know how ‘good’ our men are. The fact that they are worthy members with a temple reccommend should be enough, and that the Lord knows how good the are. In reality we all know it is so often not like this. Calling worship is a sad part of our culture.

  41. annie

    January 15, 2009

    Michelle, I loved your comment on another Segullah post where you said that you told your boys what you wanted for them was that they grow up to be really good home teachers. Amen!! (and I know plenty of “big calling” men who aren’t so great at the quiet service of being great home teachers).

    But I do remember clearly the feeling of “isn’t my dad good enough to be bishop?” when I was growing up. I think we’re always looking for ways to distinguish ourselves–it’s human nature!–and, although we pay lip service to the every-calling-is-equal truth, in practice there is a fair amount of big-calling worship that seeps into conversations. {Sometimes I’ve noticed that even extended family members of general authorities are granted extra measures of admiration and respect because of their proximity to big-callingness. Really.}

    We’ve lived both in Utah (at the beginning of our marriage) and, for the last 15 years, on the east coast. I’m sure the callings we hold here are different than they would be if we were in an LDS-concentrated area. There are trade-offs. On one hand, we miss a lot of family time in order to go to meetings and do our callings (and joke about our “family friendly” church and our “day of rest” sometimes!) This is particularly bitter for my husband, who was raised without seeing his own father much, who was bishop or in a bishopric for his entire childhood in addition to a time-consuming career.

    We do feel the blessings of the callings, and those blessings are the same for any calling: connection to those we work with, increased love for those we serve, knowledge that we’re contributing and sacrificing to the gospel’s work.

    Whew! this is long. Just one more thought: I think teaching the gospel to 13-year-olds IS one of the most important callings! It’s such a crucial time of life, with many decisions and forks in the road. He’s directly ministering to young tender testimony holders. What a crucial connection!

  42. wendy

    January 15, 2009

    Annie, I love your comment, particularly saying that teaching the gosopel to 13-year-olds IS one of the most important callings, and referring to Michelle’s wish that her sons will be good home teachers. Amen to both.

    Oh, and regarding “day of rest,” it helps me to instead refer to Sunday as “The Lord’s Day.” Hm. I think I’ve written that here before. Sorry for any redundancy!

  43. ddrplant

    January 15, 2009

    Ummm… I guess my comment got tagged as spam ( links do look weird) or maybe somebody here doesn’t like me.

    Anyway, here is the same comment again (minus the link), hopefully you won’t see it twice:

    This is a tough issue for me too.

    The church encourages, probably unintentionally, this kind of feeling toward particular callings by citing “a church resume” when introducing someone in the Ensign or before they give a talk, lesson or other presentation. BYU devotionals are often a prime example. It wouldn’t bother me if it was a sampling of all their callings, but they seem to focus on the “big ticket” items. Not always, but often…

    It is also hard when you are interviewed as a candidate for a church position that you may or may not hold, such as serving in a bishopric not in your own ward. These interviews often feel an awful lot like job interviews and it hard NOT to feel there is something wrong with you when you don’t get the calling… Of course, it just isn’t the right timing, etc, but the rejection is real.

  44. eljee

    January 15, 2009

    I have in the past felt envious of people getting leadership callings, but now that my dh has been in two bishoprics and had numerous other busy callings, I have no desire to ever be a RS president, YW president, or anything like unto it. The only thing that I kind of envy is the friendships that develop often between those serving in presidencies, and I wish I could have the chance for that experience. But I’m not sure it’s worth dealing with all the headaches, the criticism from other people, being so busy, etc. I have felt validated through the years as I have periodically received callings that do highlight my talents and gifts. (I don’t have these kinds of callings all the time, but have enough to get me through the times when I have the callings I don’t like.) After a short stint at being a ward music chairperson, I realized that I don’t like being responsible for other people. I like a calling where I can do my own thing and not be having to make up for or deal with other people’s apathy or mistakes.

    I suspect that at some point in my life I will get a leadership calling simply because of how much it would stretch me!

    When me dh was put in the bishopric, I did feel that sense of validation, of the honor that it was for our family. This feeling lasted about 3 weeks, and then it became a grind. It was about six months of struggle, being quite depressed and feeling like “how am I going to get through the next 3-5 years” and then I adapted. But there is very little glory in it…it’s mostly a lot of hard work and sacrifice for the entire family.

    I think we just sometimes have different experiences in life. Some people may “climb the ladder”, so-to-speak, moving through progressively bigger callings. Others may have the challenge of humbly accepting the will of the Lord to serve in other ways. This reminds me of how I felt while we were infertile and childless, and I often wondered why the Lord didn’t trust me with a child, or why I couldn’t have the growth that came with parenthood. Over the years I came to understand that I was just supposed to have a different experience. My experience was unique, it wasn’t the way most people did it, and that was hard, just as staying in seemingly small callings for years on end would be hard.

    I did have a hard time for a little bit when our bishop’s wife was put in as compassionate service leader, and the other counselor’s wife as RS president, as I realized that out of us three couples, the other five people would be right in the thick of what was going on in the ward, and I was the only one left out. I didn’t want to be RS president, but I just wanted all of us wives to be on an equal plane. I resented sitting at a table at a dinner with all six of us and being the only one who didn’t have a clue what was going on, or having them have conversations that they would have to cut short when they realized I was listening. Luckily, I got over that pretty quickly!

  45. Jeanelle

    January 15, 2009

    I loved this post and my first thought after reading this (and everything you write) is we need to be BFFs. 😉 And if it wasn’t for all of the fun things Utah offers families, I’d say please move to my ward!

    One lesson I’ve learned is more often than not, you really don’t get callings because of something you need in your life. Yes, you get blessings. Yes, you learn things from leadership. But I truly believe we are in our callings to bless others. Your good husband obviously doesn’t “need” what comes from serving in a leadership calling AND he gets to be home more often, bringing you cases of chocolates, etc.

    Our growth needs to come first and foremost from our own efforts…personal study, prayer, temple attendance. We can be spiritual giants and never serve anywhere but at the organ. I’m in Primary and I know of people who won’t serve there because they say there’s not enough in there for them. I can and do feel the Spirit in Primary, even amidst the chaos but it’s up to me to make that happen.

    Future topic of discussion? I was YW president for three years and was released and immediately put in as secretary to the new YW president. Pain personified!!!

  46. eljee

    January 15, 2009

    We can be spiritual giants and never serve anywhere but at the organ.

    Personally, I think the organist has one of the most important callings in the ward, because the organist has more influence on the quality of worship in sacrament meeting than any other person outside of the bishopric–and sacrament meeting is supposed to be the epitome of our worship experience each week. Speakers have influence, but they change week to week. Organists, with responsibility for setting the spiritual tone through prelude music and then effectively leading the congregation in song (which is the only active participation most of us have in sacrament meeting from week to week, outside of partaking of the ordinance of the sacrament itself), have an extremely sacred obligation with great potential for wide-spread influence.

  47. eljee

    January 15, 2009

    Argh, I sure can’t figure out how to quote correctly. Sorry!

  48. Emily M.

    January 15, 2009

    I’ve never been in a presidency as an adult. One year when I was at BYU, a bishopric counselor pulled me aside to ask if it was true that I was moving. I said it was, and he told me that he wanted me to know that if I had stayed, I would have been called to be Relief Society president the next year.

    That meant a lot to me. I had spent the last year working very hard on being outgoing and getting to know people, things that had always been hard for me. When he told me that I was Relief Society-president worthy, I felt like all my efforts to care more about others had been noticed, by him and by God.

    Great post, Michelle. I wish i had a more coherent response.

    One more thing: I love President Packer’s talks on the subject–he has given a couple recently on the theme of the importance of ordinary church members. The Lord is mindful of everyones’ efforts. I absolutely believe this.

  49. Jeanelle

    January 15, 2009

    eljee – I certainly didn’t mean to disparage organists. That was so not my point. I just said organist because it was the first thing that popped into my head! 🙂 What I was trying to say was that we could stay in one calling our entire lives and still be a spiritual giant because it’s OUR responsibility to get there, not because of the calling we have. Hope that makes more sense!!

  50. Luisa

    January 16, 2009

    I know there’s already tons of comments on this but I had to add mine as well. I struggle with feeling of value to the Lord and so sometimes I do want a calling that says I have worth. One of my main reasons is I’m always typecast. I’ve held the same 4 callings over and over– primary music leader, ward music chair, choir director. . . you get the idea. Sometimes I wonder if I have other skills than just the music skills– if there’s more to me than just that.

  51. m&m

    January 17, 2009

    Listening to Pres Monson — “the question we will be asked is not what positions we held, but how many people we helped.” (And I doubt that will be about numbers, either, but intent.)

  52. m&m

    January 17, 2009

    p.s. to that thought…the positions are about the people.

  53. justanotherguy

    January 17, 2009

    I have been the Bishop of my ward for several years. Before that I was a counselor in two other Bishoprics, and the EQP.

    In extending callings, I have “passed over” a number of individuals for leadership callings because they were really good teachers of children or the youth. I thought that was much more impportant.

    I have “passed over” outstanding individuals for certain leadership callings because I thought they were too burdened with family demands.

    I have chosen certain individual as counselors because they had personality traits or talents that were different from mine, and not because I thought they were better than numerous other candidates.

    I have “passed over” certain men as counselors and “passed over” certain women for other leadership callings because I thought they were doing too much good elsewhere.

    I am really good at some aspects of my calling, and rather ineffective at others. There is nothing special about me that could not be duplicated by a great many others.

    A good friend of mine was recently called as a Bishop in our Stake. He is a good man, I know him very well, but I could easily name a dozen men who I believe are better people and would be more effective leaders. I don’t pretend to know why he was called (and he doesn’t either), but it sure isn’t because he is in any way more worthy or more of a “man of God” than a large number of others. (I would say the same about myself.)

    A leadership calling is not an accomplishment. It is just a calling to serve in a specific capacity. There are so many reasons to extend or not extend a calling that worthiness is almost never a consideration. We really must eliminate this idea that the receipt of any particular callings is in any way evidence of our personal worthiness, or standing in the Church. When we hold on to this idea, even if only subsconsciously, it can damage us, and it can damage our spouse if we allow ourselves to question their value, worthiness or faithfulness because of their lack of leadership callings.

  54. Michelle L.

    January 17, 2009

    I can’t express my appreciation for all the honest and heartfelt comments here. It reminds me of a good Sunday School lesson where the teaching is simply a springboard for the thoughts of others.

    Your words have clearly illustrated the importance of “invisible callings” such as den mother, librarian, nursery leader, visiting teacher and, of course, Sunday School teacher. It’s amazing the amount of service we gove each other. I remember going to lunch with a friend who’d just been called as Primary President. Our non-member friend was intrigued and quizzed her about her new position. Her final question– “So what kind of salary do they pay for all that work?” 😉

  55. Jana

    January 23, 2009

    I worked at the Church office building for 10 years in the mailroom. One of my responsibilities was delivering mail to the brethren in the administration building. One day I was delivering mail to David B Haights office and he was sitting at his secretarie’s desk. I was kidding and made the comment, “Oh, My, you’ve been demoted!” I was just kidding, he stood up and came over to me, put his arms around me and said “My sweet sister, there is not one calling in the building of this Kingdom that takes more importance over another.” I never have forgotten that …

  56. Jana

    January 23, 2009

    I worked at the Church office building for 10 years in the mailroom. One of my responsibilities was delivering mail to the brethren in the administration building. One day I was delivering mail to David B Haights office and he was sitting at his secretary’s desk. I was kidding and made the comment, “Oh, My, you’ve been demoted!” I was just kidding, he stood up and came over to me, put his arms around me and said “My sweet sister, there is not one calling in the building of His Kingdom that takes more importance over another.” I never have forgotten that …

  57. Michelle L.

    January 23, 2009

    Thanks Jana! I love that! We discussed “Lift Where You Stand” in RS last week and one woman said, “It’s a long process of self-actualization to understand that what you are, who you are is enough and that God truly loves each one of us.”

    So more than anything it comes down to that– do I really have faith in God’s love?

  58. Motherboard

    February 3, 2009

    I really liked what justanotherguy had to say. It really made me feel a lot better about a lot of things! Thank you.

    From the time I was about 12, I had my “church news bio” figured out. It sounds stupid, but I grew up reading the church news, and the “resumes/bios” of the newly called mission presidents. I wanted my photo right there on pg.3.

    It was a huge shocker to me when my husband (10+ years into our marriage) confided that not only did he NOT want that church bio– he did not want those “big dog” callings either. If he could just be the scout leader forever, he would be happy. I am embarrassed to admit that when my husband said that, I was sort of devastated. No church bio for you! (said in my soup Nazi voice)

    But, I have come to understand that the Administrators are just that– Administrators. Those of us who serve in the trenches are the Ministers. The Lord needs us to “lift where we stand”. No matter where that is– bio or no bio!

  59. Sue

    February 4, 2009

    My husband and I have never felt that getting a certain calling was any kind of accomplishment. We just felt like it must be our turn…and we try not to think of it as a burden, lol!

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